March 10, 2011

Letter to the Editor: In defense of the SAFC

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To the Editor:

Re: “Dozens of Cornell Student Groups Appeal Recent SAFC Funding Decisions,” News, March 9

Wednesday’s article on the appeals process was misleading. The writer presented quotes out of context and unfortunately misrepresented the SAFC. To get the facts straight, we had a record high number of applicants (419), a record low number of commissioner errors (six) and proportionately the same number of appeals as prior semesters. By many standards, this was our best semester ever. Every group is provided specific reasoning on their allocation, which is accessible on the online system. Furthermore, all organizations have the opportunity to speak with commissioners during numerous office hours and help sessions or via email before and after budgets are submitted.

For more than 30 years, the SAFC has served this community by objectively reviewing budgets. Recently, we have ramped up our education process and have created additional resources for applicants. Working for countless hours without pay, we do it because we love Cornell.

The SAFC hopes to work with the Student Assembly in making improvements to the funding process. This, however, will mean that S.A. members will need to understand the current funding process and agree to follow the rules they write. The status quo is underwhelming. For instance, the V.P. of Finance for the S.A. at a whim took and to no surprise failed our mandatory guidelines exam, which commissioners are required to pass with at least an 80 percent before they can handle a group’s budget. The S.A. cannot pretend to have supreme authority to override its own rules and guidelines with such a shallow understanding of them.

Looking forward, we are very excited for the newly elected S.A. members and believe that they are well intentioned. There is a brighter dawn ahead and we see the potential to work together to continue serving the Cornell community.

Lauren Rosenblum ’11 and Kevin Song ’12, SAFC Co-Chairs